Written by Tori Horvath. 11 November 2014.
Dierks Bentley’s third album Long Trip Alone boasted a CD full of hits and countless positive reviews. Of the many great songs on the album, “Every Mile A Memory,” one of his most popular singles, stands out as an unconventional heartfelt tribute. Bentley’s album focused on highlighting the importance of relationships as he travelled constantly in 2005, and “Every Mile A Memory” truly exemplifies this theme.
It is easy to see that Bentley may have been a little homesick during his grueling year on the road, as a portion of the songs on his album expressed the longing he felt for his home and his loved ones. In fact, in 2005 Bentley got married to his high school sweetheart, so being on the road for such extended periods of time without her was definitely a hardship for him, and it showed in his songwriting. In an interview with online digital media company Starpulse, Bentley explained, “Songs like ‘Long Trip Alone’ and ‘Soon As You Can’ are all about the relationships in your life and how important they are. Other songs are very inspired by new feelings I’ve experienced from being married.”
When listening to the song, the listener can picture themselves on the road with Dierks, feeling what he was feeling and seeing what he was seeing. He describes driving down country roads, passing by old places that hold so many memories. In every verse, the lyrics showcase brilliant imagery; for example, Bentley sings, “Red sun down, out across the western sky / Takes me back to the fire in your eyes / Texas stars in a purple night / Not seein’ ‘em with you baby / Oh, they never do it right, no,” in the second verse. He truly paints a picture in the minds of his audience that allows them to feel like they are seeing the same scenery that he is, and they can imagine the emotion he feels as he reminisces through his travels.
It is important that Bentley wrote the song in a way that clearly conveyed his message to his audience, because that is what gives his fans an opportunity to better get to know him on a deeper level. He certainly did communicate his feelings clearly, and he communicated them with energy. The song as a whole has a surprisingly rock vibe to it, so it isn’t quite as soft as one might think that a love song would be. However, Bentley uses this to his advantage, as it catches the attention of the audience by being a little louder and less traditional. His energy as he sang the heartfelt lyrics is incredibly emphatic, in that as he sings, the audience can hear the raw emotion in his voice.
It is important to note that Bentley’s voice has a raspy sound to it, which conveys a sense of authenticity and believability. This conveys his emotion even more effectively. Additionally, he sang certain words with more emphasis (“lonesome” in the last chorus) and allowed himself to be even more vulnerable and emotional in the last chorus. Without this energy and the use of imagery, the message and overall emotion of the song wouldn’t be nearly as clear or easily understood.
It is also interesting to look at the different structures that Bentley uses in his songs. In modern country music, songs typically follow the verse-chorus-bridge pattern, which most people are unknowingly familiar with because it is so popularly used. In many of the other songs on his album, Bentley utilizes very unique structures of songs, often writing songs that don’t even contain a chorus and tend to repeat the same hook line over and over throughout the song in place of a chorus. These other songs on his album are more playful and less significant, which gives him a chance to make the song structure a little more unique and light.
However, “Every Mile A Memory” follows the verse-chorus-bridge pattern, which seems to be extremely appropriate for the subject and level of emotion that the song showcases. Because Bentley is sharing a story of his time on the road and his thoughts and feelings as he wishes for his wife to be on the road with him, he utilizes a structure that is more oriented toward telling a story to capture the attention of his listeners and fans.
Bentley’s style of storytelling through song is truly impressive. Because he is so willing to show vulnerability and sensitivity in his songs and lyrics, it is easier for listeners and fans to connect with him and share his stories. Not only does he open the doors for fans to see inside his head and understand how he feels when travelling, he makes the song fun and relatable by making his songs so clear and full of life. This is especially important, as fans need to feel a connection to musicians in order to truly understand the complexities that they face while making music and promoting themselves on the road. Bentley is an amazing example of dedication to his music, his fans, and his loved ones, and “Every Mile A Memory” positively supports what he believes is important.
|Guitar; guitar, drums, full band
|Song starts with very soft guitar picking, then a significant pause, followed by the same guitar picking rhythm and another pause. After the second pause, the full band suddenly enters and powerfully plays a more intricate rhythm. Right before Bentley starts singing, the drum beat is very prominent, leading to a dramatic pause in the music.
|Music softens considerably, and there is a strong bass line with guitar and soft drums. The verse starts to build as he sings “Spanish moss…” and more instruments join in. Steady drum beat becomes more intense leading up to the chorus.
|“Every mile a memory…”
|Full band playing. Bentley sings very smoothly and earnestly. His voice slides down when singing certain words: mile, song, day, night. Harmonies are added.
|Full band, heavy guitar
|Same as the second half of the intro.
|“Red sun down…”
|More intense and energetic than Verse 1. Harmonies brought in during the second half of the verse.
|“Every mile a memory…”
|Identical to the first chorus, but this time the last word “memory” is drawn out, leading into the bridge.
|“Funny how no matter where…”
|More intense, drawn out beat. Very different sound from the rest of the song. Words more drawn out; Bentley sings very soulfully and emphatically in this section.
|“Every mile a memory…”
|Music is much softer, just guitar playing until “Every day a page…” At this point, the whole band kicks back in and creates a very full sound. Only difference from the other choruses from here is how Bentley sings the word “lonesome” with more of an emphasis on the word.
|“Every mile a memory…”
|The song ends with Bentley repeating the hook, adding emphasis and drawing out the ends of phrases for dramatic effect. Last few seconds of the song returns to the sound of the first ten seconds of the song, very soft with simple guitar picking. Music fades out.
“Dierks Bentley.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.
“Dierks Bentley’s Third Album ‘Long Trip Alone,’ Hits Stores Oct. 17.”Starpulse.com. Starpulse, 12 Oct. 2006. Web. 12 5 Nov. 2014.